YouTube was trying to keep something secret until a grand unveiling on Tuesday, but there was a leak.
It has a new streaming service that bundles all the Google music services into one and replacing all the separate services. (We knew they were working on this, so it was actually a very open secret).
The new offering called YouTube Music will be very standard in some ways: a free tier (i.e. ad-supported) and a premium version that will cost $9.99 a month. Both the app and the desktop version will change to include the music component of another service called YouTube Red.
Users will get access to thousands of playlists, the official versions of millions of songs and albums, artist-based radio stations and–Ta-dah! The killer app!–music videos. That will set it apart from Spotify and Apple Music,
The interface will be very personalized with each user getting a unique home page. Actually, a series of unique home pages.
Say you like instrumental chillout music when you’re at work. The system will learn that so when you do sit down at your desk or whatever, you’ll see a home page on your desktop or app that will give you instrumental chillout music. But that home page will change when you head home because it’ll know that you want something different. Driving music, say. And then when you get home, it will serve up another home page.
Basically, YouTube music will learn your history based on activity, time of day, and location and then put it use automatically.
Remember Songza? It did exactly this sort of thing. Google bought the company a couple of years back and incorporated it into Google Play Music. Now that user experience is being elevated to the next level. (The writer of that YouTube blog post was one of the founders of Songza. I used to be the company’s chief curator for Canada, but then Songza was sold and I was out of work. Such is the world of tech.)
And any time you want to click over to a video, you can do that. Cool.
Naturally, Canada will NOT be part of the soft launch on Tuesday. Only the US, Mexico, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand will get YouTube Music to start. We’ll get it sometime later this year along with 13 European countries.
If you’re already a Google Play Music subscriber like me (I subscribe to them all because knowing how this stuff works is my job), you will be ported over to the premium version of the new platform.
I have a feeling that the streaming world is about to get a whole lot more interesting.